“Some day, I’d like to return to the Philippines and run for office.”

Jen never met her biological father. On the day she was born, he was assassinated. Her father came from a well-known political family and was a captain in the Philippines military. One day in 1982, he was called to an emergency conference in Cotabato City. Because his wife was so far along in her pregnancy, he hesitated to go, but the hospital they planned to deliver was in Cotabato City, so he felt more comfortable making the trip.

He brought Jen’s mother, 2 bodyguards, 1 maid, 1 driver and his brother in-law. It was an era of extreme political unrest in the Philippines. There were rebel groups fighting and corruption in the military.

While driving to the emergency conference, armed men ambushed them from the roadside and killed everyone in the car, except Jen’s pregnant mother. She was shot fatally 3 times; once in the head and twice in the back. Shortly after the attack, a car passed by and they were able to get her to the hospital.

When she arrived at the hospital, the doctors performed an emergency delivery of Jen because they thought her mother was going to die. Thankfully, both Jen and her mother survived. Sadly, Jen’s birthday is now reserved as a day of remembrance of the father that she never met and chooses a different day to celebrate herself. 

Jen is an incredibly intelligent woman who only makes her brilliance known when she’s called upon. Currently, it feels like we’re bombarded with constant self-promotion and self-advancement, it’s refreshing and inspiring to be around someone like her. When I spoke with her for this feature, I was reminded of the beautiful characteristics that women bring to work culture. Characteristics usually referred to “soft skills”. I believe they should be known as “essential skills”. Through our conversations, I found myself reconnecting to those essential skills that reside within me, and it felt really good.

As early as Jen can remember, she was interested in human behavior. In 9th grade, she wrote a thesis paper about interpreting dreams and personality. While in high school and thinking about college, she considered going to medical school and thought she would study Neurology. Psychology also interested her, but in the Philippines, the career path for Psychology majors leads to school counselor or therapist. Since that didn’t interest her, she researched what Psychology looked like in other parts of the world and she discovered Human Factors & Ergonomics. 

She found graduate programs, and was accepted, in the U.S. and Germany. Her mother strongly encouraged her to go the U.S., specifically Louisiana, where her Uncle Jose lived, who played a father figure role in her life.

She graduated from the University of Louisiana with a Masters in Experimental Psychology and continued her academic pursuit at Wichita State, where she earned her Ph.D. in Human Factors Psychology.

While working on her Ph.D., she worked for Dell, Honeywell, Motorola and Coca Cola through consulting projects contracted by the University. When she completed her studies and was ready to play the corporate game, her first stop was Honeywell. There she spent 4 years working on Industrial Automation Systems. After Honeywell, it was Veritas and finally found her way to Target.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? 
Angela Merkel. She has a scientist background, which is unusual in politics. She led a country that became an economic power and a welcoming place, even though the Holocaust happened there. I think she has emerged as the leader of the free world. She has the guts and political will to stand up to Trump. I want to ask her about her vision for Germany’s future, how did she get there and what her struggles were.

What do you value most in a friendship?
Honesty, as in, the tough love kind of honesty. That’s how I behave with my friends and that’s what I expect from them as well. I also value trust. I have to travel really far to be with many of my close friends, so it’s important that we trust that the friendship is ok even if we can’t speak or see each other on a regular basis.

What is your most treasured memory?
The time I spent with my Maternal Grandmother. She helped us while my mom recovered from the attack. She lived next door and was a comforting presence in my life. When I would have what I call “homework panics” my Grandma would say: “Pause, take a deep breath and write down the steps you need to take.” She’d acknowledge the panic, but set the strategy. I still think about that and use that same methodology today.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
Running for public office back home. I want to serve because I have a lot of ideas. I was thinking the other day that maybe the right people aren’t running. I’m still thinking about it. I’ve been trained for it by both my family history and the culture of education in the Philippines. Every year, they recognize 10 outstanding students, with the goal being that these students will return to work on nation building. I was part of a group of 10 after college and all of my “batch mates” are already back in the Philippines doing this work.

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
Yes, especially if I’m ordering pizza with people who speak English. If I was speaking my native language, then no.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else? 
I sing to myself every morning when I’m making coffee. We’re a musical family and I own a Karaoke machine. I make my American friends sing Karaoke when we host dinner parties. Some of my favorite songs to sing are: Zombie, by The Cranberries, Hero, by Mariah and Wind Beneath My Wings.

Do you have a secret hunch about how you’ll die?
I don’t, but I have thoughts about how I want to die. I want to be at home in the Philippines. If I get an illness with a lot of strain, I’d forgo treatment for travel and time with my family.

Name 3 things you and your husband have in common.
We’re both introverts, we like watching Broadway shows and we like to travel.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
To be alive. Watching my mom and her strength after what she experienced. It affected how I look at life and it makes me grateful.

If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be? 
I wish my mom and grandparents were less protective of me. They loosened up with my younger siblings.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
To be an awesome skier. I like Minnesota, but I think I would enjoy it more if I knew how to ski.

“No ab selfies! The Fly Feet experience is about the community in the room.”

Kristin’s energy is infectious. Spend 10 minutes with her and she’ll have you believing that anything is possible. What’s interesting to me, is how she’s designed a business, Fly Feet Running Studio based on that feeling. She’s developed a workout experience where you can get in shape, but more importantly, you feel like you can do anything. 

Fly Feet is a boutique workout studio with two locations: One in downtown Minneapolis and the second in Wayzata. I’ve done this workout several times and every time I walk into the studio thinking: “Oh crap, I don’t know if I can do this.” That feeling actually endures throughout the workout because the stakes keep getting raised by the coach who guides you for the hour.

After I’ve completed the workout and days after when I tell my friends why I’m walking funny, that’s when the impact of the experience really hits you. Anything really is possible when you, as Kristin puts it: “Stare failure in the face, trust and accept yourself.” While the hour-long workout is tough and you push yourself through it. It’s looking back on that hour where you learn about yourself and what you’re capable of. That’s when you feel the results. 

Kristin grew up in an entrepreneurial family. Her dad started and built a successful manufacturing company, so she saw firsthand what running a business looks like. She was the first kid in her family to graduate college and found fitness early in life. As soon as she got her driver’s license and could drive herself to a fitness class, she’s had a fitness practice.

Fitness is something that Kristin always held onto. Through graduate school, marriage, 3 kids and working as a corporate executive at Target, she’s always had a fitness routine. When she got her first job out of college at Accenture, she taught group fitness as her side hustle. She always felt like she would open a gym someday.

That day arrived when she left her corporate VP job to launch her fitness studio 3 years ago. Kristin is that perfect mix of analytical and visionary so the day she left her full time job, she had a fully baked business plan and was ready to launch the first class. People are often surprised that she made that leap, but she believes that you have nothing to lose in life. If something is speaking to you, you have to pay attention to it.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? 
Oprah. For many reasons, but one that stands out is a 60 Minutes interview of her that I saw from the ‘80’s when she was about to launch her show. Mike Wallace asked her what happens if the show doesn’t do well. She responded that she will still do well because she is not defined by a show. She said that she is defined by how she treats herself and other people. 

Would you like to be famous? In what way?
I want to be honest about how I answer. I want to be famous for the right thing. I get energy from impacting people and believe in the “why” behind Fly Feet. I want Fly Feet to be big and if that brings fame, then I’d feel ok about it.

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say?
No, but I used to. In past professional roles, I would get negative feedback about being direct. So, I would rehearse so I wouldn’t come across too direct. 

What would constitute a perfect day for you?
The weather would be warm and we’d be at a beach. I would wake up at 5:00 a.m., drink my coffee and catch up on news and emails. Go on a run or do a Fly Feet workout. Get home and everyone is still asleep so we can have breakfast as a family. Hang out on the beach and be active with my family.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
My 6-year-old gets a personalized version of Hush Little Baby, so I probably did that some time in the last week.

If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
That’s a difficult choice because they feed each other, but I would choose to keep my mind.

Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die? 
No, I’ve never thought about this! Have you? I’m a glass half full kind of person and have honestly never spent time thinking about it, but now I’m going to!

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My health, family and the circumstances to which I was born.

If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be? 
The way I was raised wasn’t perfect, but what is? I wouldn’t change anything because it made me who I am.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
I would love to be able to sing. I’m pretty terrible, but I love it. I am pretty good at rapping though. Teleportation for me and my family because we’d travel everywhere!

A Woman of the People

My memory of the caricature of a food critic is someone who is an elitist and only recommends the poshest of places that few can afford. They may disguise themselves so chefs and customers don’t recognize them when they are out “critic’ing”. Restaurants bend over backwards to make sure the critic has an excellent experience, only to be disheartened to read a scathing review in the next publication. We’ve all seen this movie.

The foodie experience has changed over the last 10+ years and I’d go so far as to say that it has been democratized much like my industry of design.

One of the main disruptors, locally, to that old fashioned idea of the  food critic is Stephanie March. She’s currently the Senior Editor of Food and Dining at Mpls.St. Paul Magazine and co-hosts the radio show, “Weekly Dish”.

Even though she used to pretend to be a writer as a kid, won a writing contest in high school and majored in English, she didn’t realize she wanted to be a writer until much later in life.

Her food hospitality experience started in college when she worked as the bar manager at the campus pub. When she graduated, she spent a short time in advertising, and then went on to bartend at Buca in Eden Prairie. She worked up the ranks at Buca, becoming the Director of Training where she would travel the country opening new restaurants and training the staff. One of the perks of this job was being able to eat and drink through all the cities she was traveling to.

She left that job for circumstances out of her control and launched her own freelance consulting business training restaurant staff, blogging and media buying. This was where she started to build her food network.

There was a new magazine launching in Minneapolis, called The Rake, where she pitched and landed a food writing gig. She spent 6 years at The Rake and when the magazine folded, she continued to blog. She was still figuring out that she was a writer.

She took one more restaurant consulting job at Oceanaire when the great recession of 2008 hit. Budgets and expense accounts dried up and nobody was hiring for that type of work anymore. It was also around this time that Andrew Zimmern was leaving Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, so she applied for his job. She was turned down, but took freelance assignments with the magazine, which ultimately led to an Assistant Editor job, which led to her current role as the Senior Editor of Food and Dining.

What I personally love about Stephanie’s work, is the attention she pays to what she’s defined as her two audiences: Readers to feed and the restaurant community as a whole. She’s earned the trust of chefs because she provides her honest feedback when they ask for it.

I also love how she believes that good food should be for everybody. She’s not judge and jury on what “should” be the right restaurant, chef or food experience. If you like it, that’s awesome. The way she describes food is her authentic experience of it, which may be critical because she has a duty to the reader to be honest about her thoughts.

She’s made the local eating out experience engaging, celebratory and fun. I’m a huge fan because her optimism is contagious.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? 
MFK Fisher. She’s a food writer who was born in Minnesota, but moved to California as a young girl. She was the first person I discovered who had a voice and creative writing around food. She took no pleasure in dissecting taste. Context was more important, as were trends and why we accept them.

What would you cook?
Speaking of trends, Cacio E Pepe. I would cook that.

Would you like to be famous? In what way?
I used to think so. I’m locally known and enjoy interacting with people who respond well to my work, but fame is not a goal.

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say?
No, I’m famously off-the-cuff.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
This morning. All the time. My kid and I listen to a lot of music and we sing in the car.

Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die? 
No, but I think about it. Like on a plane. My averages are up there because I used to fly so much. I’d think: “Is this it?”

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
3 beautiful and wonderful step children.

If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be? 
My mom is amazing and my best friend, but she raised us herself. It would have been nice to have had a male role model, but I don’t yearn for it.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
Flight, so I don’t have to do so much driving. Ha! Seriously though, I have a pretty zen outlook, but I am at an age where I think about things differently. I need to trust myself more and let go of the BS that comes with doubt.

What is your most treasured memory?
Finding joy in the most difficult moments in life. To give you context, I’m a first generation American. My mom escaped the war in Germany and she worked so hard. She was an immigrant, divorcee, with 2 teenage daughters and in the process of getting her CPA. We didn’t have much. There were many nights when dinner consisted of Bisquick, tunafish and pasta. One night her and I were doing dishes and I played the “Rubber Band attached to the sprayer” trick on her. When she turned on the faucet, she got really wet! A laughing chase ensued, where she tackled me to the ground and stuffed a stinky, milky, trashy rag in my face to get back at me. We laughed ourselves silly. I still laugh really hard thinking about it today.

“I’ve seen the worst outcomes of risk taking!”

Assumptions are funny, aren’t they? We all do it, whether it’s conscious or subconscious. I admit, I see a pretty woman with all the “right” clothes, the “right” job and the “right” things and it never crosses my mind that maybe this person has had struggles or has had to work hard to get where she is.

Assumptions are funny, aren’t they? We all do it, whether it’s conscious or subconscious. I admit, I see a pretty woman with all the “right” clothes, the “right” job and the “right” things and it never crosses my mind that maybe this person has struggled or has worked hard to get where she is.

That was true for me when I got the opportunity to really talk to Melissa. I didn’t realize my assumptions about her until I learned about how she grew up and what her experiences were. Up until that point, our interactions had mostly been professional. And unlike me, she paces herself with the personal information that she shares with people. I can respect that.

Melissa immediately became an adult at 8 years old when her mom died suddenly of myocarditis. Her dad had just dropped her and her brother off for the holidays, when her mom collapsed in the living room. They had to call their dad so he would return to the house and convince him that it wasn’t a joke.

5 years prior to that, her dad survived being struck by a semi, but the accident left him a quadraplegic. So, after her mom died, Melissa took on the stereotypical gender roles of the household. She cooked, cleaned, did laundry and made sure her brother got to school in one piece. Think about being in 2nd grade and not having the same parental resources as most kids you are friends with. Life gets real, real fast.

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Melissa shared that her childhood was difficult, but it also developed her ambition. She was an academic overachiever, skipping her senior year in high school and graduating from Grinnell a semester early. She has 2 Master’s Degrees. One is in Journalism and the other in Business.

Her Master’s thesis explored the “Otherness of the body.” She believed that if people with disabilities were represented more in pop culture and film with or without stereotypes, that it would positively affect the overall populations’ view of them. She proved it by testing 2 sample groups. She showed one group film clips from pop culture movies that contained disabled people as protagonists, then had them answer a series of questions relating to their perception of the disabled as parents, in the workplace, etc. The other group wasn’t shown any clips but still answered the questions. The outcome was able to provide statistically significant evidence that even though the film clips may have shown stereotypical portrayals of the disabled, it still positively affected how others perceive the disabled. Most importantly, this proved that representation and inclusivity within media is essential in making people more comfortable with “otherness”.

Melissa’s career and style is impressive. It’s uncommon to meet someone in advertising who has achieved so much academically. I’m always fascinated by people who can do well in academia. She admits during our conversation that she believes her ambition is a direct result of not having more support from adults as a kid. She just wanted someone to provide direction and say: “Hey kid, you’re really good at this. You should go for it.” Instead, she’s had to embark on that journey alone.

Melissa could have a career in any industry. She chose advertising because she fell in love with it. She started at a publishing company, working as a writer and beauty editor for several local magazines. While there, she was recruited by Target and they brought her on board to work on various creative projects.

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While at Target, she transitioned full time into writing and eventually was promoted to Associate Creative Director. Her portfolio of work spans the enterprise including Target Style, Bullseye Beauty, Target Race and Ava & Viv. She takes great pleasure being the person in the room that fights for inclusivity and representation in our storytelling. When her team was developing the Ava & Viv brand (plus size apparel), she was the one tirelessly advocating for us to focus on style first, size second. That commitment has had incredible business results on the projects she leads.

Melissa embodies all the characteristics women get in trouble for. She’s smart, opinionated and determined to get her ideas implemented, no matter who she makes uncomfortable. Those are all the characteristics we need to inspire change and acceptance in our media landscape.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
It changes by day. Michelle Obama. I think she’s amazing. Or Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Time is running out. Make her number one!

Would you like to be famous? In what way?
No, it seems glamorous. I think those people are miserable. I’d like to be known. Someone who fights for something like RBG.

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
Working out, massage, getting on a plane to a new city and ending with delicious wine.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
I just sang this morning! I make up songs about my dogs and sing to them. After my husband left this morning I was scream-singing to my dogs.

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If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
Obviously my mind. I’ve always struggled with being physically fit and I’m trying to give myself a little more credit. I mean, I just deadlifted 220 pounds last month! I’ve also been recovering from a concussion the last 4 months and it’s made me realize even more how important it is for me to be able to think and articulate my ideas.

Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
No, and I don’t want to think about it. Having watched my mom die, I only want to focus on living. I do have a goal to become more comfortable with death. I want to be at ease and not fight it, but currently, I’m terrified.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
Travel, opportunities I’ve had and education. When you travel, you see the world and different perspectives. It changed who I was. I was 15 when I went to Mexico to build houses and I saw what real poverty was. I spent 2 summers doing that.

If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
I wish I wouldn’t have had so much self doubt. I wonder what life would have been like if someone had recognized what I was good at and pushed me.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
Being less risk-averse. Having visibility to the community of people with disabilities, I’ve seen the worst outcomes of risk taking! I’d also follow my own advice.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
Move and work abroad. It would be hard to convince my husband. When we met, he hadn’t left the country. I have a good job and I’ve created a beautiful home. I’m settled in.

The Side Hustle

Relationships between women at work can be some of the most important connections you can make as a woman. We can be great gut checks for each other. Whether it’s an idea that you may be thinking about, a conflict with a co-worker you may have encountered or just plain old “girl talk”.

These relationships have been crucial to my survival in the corporate world. Moments of reprieve, connection and lots of laughs. Many of the women I work with, I consider friends and sometimes these friendships can birth a business. Partnerships in creation outside the office walls, also known as the side hustle.

The side hustle is an important part of a creative professional’s life. It allows them to test their assumptions and stretch their creative muscle. It offers a rotation of work that ultimately feeds other work. It keeps you fresh, nimble and motivated in your full-time job.

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When Erin, Cassidy, Naomi and Colleen met working as stylists at Martha Stewart Weddings in New York City, they didn’t know that working and sitting together would lead to a fulfilling side hustle, which would lead to launching an innovative business.

They planned and styled events at Martha and also sat together in the same row of desks, so the conversations and collaborations came naturally. Sitting next to the same people 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, creates a safe space for brainstorming ideas. It’s why we see more office spaces designed for collaborative conversations.

They started discussing an idea around designing funerals. They wondered why funerals weren’t held to the same standards of style and design as weddings were. People celebrate every milestone in life, except death. It’s something that people don’t want to think about until it happens, so all the special details about this life are overlooked because the families are grieving.

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They talked about an idea of a funeral design business and a vision came together after about a year. They realized that together, they could leverage their expertise in the wedding planning business and apply it to the funeral business.

Going Out in Style was founded on “The belief that life at its ending deserves a grand exit.” It started as a side hustle where they would work with families of the deceased to plan celebrations that perfectly captured the person’s individual style. Today, they find themselves getting lots of press coverage, interest from TV studios, and yes, planning funerals.

I met with 2 of the 4 founders (Erin & Cassidy) at Bardo to learn more about their business. I told them that I love the idea and have experienced bits of this concept at a funeral for one of my uncles. He was an avid cyclist and a fan of brass music, so at the beginning of the church service, his son-in-law walked a bike down the aisle to Carolina Brass’s version of Amazing Grace. I only know that because after the funeral, I immediately searched for the song so I could listen to it again.

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I remember that moment in my uncle’s service like it was yesterday and whenever that song pops up in my iTunes, it makes me both happy and sad. Incorporating that bit of authenticity into the ceremony was a such a gift. I’ll remember it forever.

That’s why I think this business concept is so cool. We invest so much thought, time and money into celebrating “beginnings” like weddings, first baby showers, first home, but we neglect the moment in time when the beautiful story of a whole life has concluded. There are many reasons for that like: It’s how it’s always been done, it’s a difficult time for the family and the deceased may have never expressed their final wishes.

It’s time for disruption.

Imagine you could plan all the details so your final celebration would be a true representation of your style and included all the momentos that you cared about. The flowers could be your favorite and the playlist would express the energy you want people to remember to feel about you.

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The women from Going Out In Style can help draw out design choices like color palette, fashion choices, typography for your programs and invitations, food and beverages. The ideas are endless and the value that Going Out In Style offers is that they can help you curate those choices and come to a solution that is perfectly you. The value is two-fold. One, you’re assured that the party will be just as you want it, and more importantly, your family can devote their time celebrating your life, rather than being bogged down with the details of planning and executing a funeral.

Since that moment at my uncle’s funeral had such an impact on me, I have to admit, I do think about the last impression I want to leave people with. I don’t want my funeral to be anywhere near a church. I’m thinking about a dance party, with lots of Prince music. Really high-end food with Rosé, Champagne and coconut cake (trust me). And of course, I want my guests dressed to impress.

“I’m focused on building my legacy”

It makes sense that Anne is an entrepreneur because it’s in her DNA. She grew up with parents who are self-made, so she understands the journey. Her dad built a construction company and her mom built and sold several businesses.

It makes sense that Anne is an entrepreneur because it’s in her DNA. She grew up with parents who are self-made, so she understands the journey. Her dad built a construction company and her mom built and sold several businesses. The discoveries Anne is uncovering through her entrepreneurial journey are vast and challenging. She welcomes the risk and is excited about the legacy she is building.

Her path to business ownership wasn’t a straight line, she started her career wanting to be a news anchor. When she was a kid, she would perform the weather report for her parents. She attended the University of Minnesota and studied broadcast journalism. Shortly after college, she moved to New York City to pursue her anchor dreams.

Once there, she realized that the market was too big for her to make it. Nobody was going to give a Midwest talent, with no experience, a break. So, she got a job at JCrew. It was here she met and connected with a photographer who worked at NBC. This connection led her to getting a job in the advertising department at NBC.

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She worked at 30 Rock, the famous building that is the home of some of our favorite shows: SNL, The Today Show, Conan (when she worked there). One of the perks of working at 30 Rock, was she could go anywhere in the building, including the sets of these shows. She’d run into talent in the elevator. It was a fun time in her career.

After working in NYC for about 2 years, she moved back to Minneapolis. When she returned, she worked as a producer at Channel 9. She still wanted to be a reporter, so she shadowed other reporters and wrote her own reports. Until one day, she experienced the realities of being a reporter that went beyond just telling stories for the camera.

She was dispatched to a house fire, where a family had just returned from vacationing in Florida. They lost their house and all of their belongings in the fire. Anne’s job was to interview the family about their devastation so she could get the story. That experience felt awful.

Then, there was the story she had to cover about a shooting in NE Minneapolis, where she saw her first dead body. Her dream of becoming an on-air reporter started to fade.

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After working in news, she went back to advertising and worked at two of the top agencies in town, Fallon & Martin Williams. In between those two jobs, she started a successful catering business and also pitched (and won) a cooking segment on Channel 9.

Then, it was on to Target, where she was selected to work on a large innovation project, Store of the Future. Unfortunately, that project got defunded, so she left Target and ventured out on her own.

She co-founded Red Archer Retail, which provides consulting services for anyone thinking about the future of retail, in addition to the content platform, Omni Talk, where they candidly discuss tech retail industry.

When I asked Anne about her style, her response was: “Sheesh, is ‘machine washable’ a style category?”

Her life is spent with dirty kids, in a gym or pitching investors these days, so her go-to style is something that’s classic, comfortable and most important, easily washable. When there’s a rare occasion to dress up, wearing heels is fun and most of the outfits she wears for a night out, are vintage hand-me-downs from friends, her grandmothers and her husband’s grandmother. She LOVES those, especially thinking about the events those women wore the outfits to.

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Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

Do they have to be alive? I would like to have Abraham Lincoln over for dinner. I’m interested in his perspective on current events. Since he was President during contentious times, what would his reaction be to a briefing with the current administration? I’m interested in historical people. I want to understand what we can learn from the past.

Would you like to be famous? In what way?

It depends on how you describe fame. I think it sounds awful. I’d prefer my work or ideas to be famous. I’d like exposure for making things happen so I can inspire others to go outside the box and live the life they dream of.

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say?

Yes, I do. It’s a recent development. Anyone who knows me, says I’m flexible and comfortable with not knowing everything. This makes me a long-winded storyteller. That doesn’t work so well in the pitching process because you have a limited amount of time with very busy people to get your idea across and close the deal. So, I have to practice what I’m going to say and how I’m going to overcome any objections in a 5-10 minute conversation.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

I don’t know when I last sang to myself, but I sang to my son this morning. It didn’t work because he was still crying. I also don’t sing well.

Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

Probably from multi-tasking. It will be a scenario where I have too much going on and I’ll accidentally light a stove.

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Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

We’re both entrepreneurial, idea-driven (he’ll riff on ideas with me), shared life goals and what we want our life to look like and we both do what we love.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

Getting to be a working mom.

If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

I wouldn’t change anything. Flaws and all, I think my parents did a good job of raising me to be a person who has become her own person, and if they’d done anything differently, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Unlimited patience.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

I always wanted to own a business. Both of my parents were small business owners. I haven’t done it until this point because I was afraid to take the risk. Last year, life opened up to me so I could try. I feel responsible for my legacy, my kids and my family’s legacy and building something for that is very important to me.

Travel is a priority for my family.

Here she was, unemployed at 40. This was an unusual situation for Michelle because she’d always been on the rise in her career. She had 2 job offers that she was considering. One was a VP of Product Operations at a healthcare company and the other, Senior Product Manager at a software company.

At age 40, Michelle found herself unemployed. This was an unusual situation for Michelle because she’d always been on the rise in her career. She had 2 job offers that she was considering. One was a VP of Product Operations at a healthcare company and the other, Senior Product Manager at a software company.

Of course, the job that made the most sense was VP, overseeing a team of 40 people. She had been working toward this type of a role her whole career. It was the logical next step. However, after evaluating the offers with the CEO of her board of directors (her hubby), he asked her: “Which job looks more fun?”

The answer to that question, of course, was the job at the software company. She accepted that offer, which was an individual contributor role, and was promoted to Director within 6 months. She now leads a team of UX designers and product managers for a security software company in Minneapolis.

Michelle began her career in government. She always thought that she would work in D.C. She majored in Political Science and had internships on Capitol Hill, the White House and the Governor’s Mansion.

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While in college, a professor recommended that she attend a career fair where computer consulting companies were recruiting top talent. She half-heartedly took some competency exams, which she thought she bombed, and came out with a significant job offer to go to a large consulting firm after college. When she brought the offer to her boss on Capitol Hill, he told her to take it. It was more than 2 times what he would be able to pay her if she were to work in government. That boss taught her a very valuable career lesson. He said to take a chance, because the safe choice will always be there if the chance doesn’t work out.

So, she ventured off on a new career path, which required her to travel 40-50 weeks per year. This was the ‘90’s and the tech boom was just beginning. As it relates to style, she was part of the first class of women at her consulting company who were allowed to wear pant suits. Prior to that, they had to wear skirt suits. When summer arrived, the women were wearing suit separates and constantly being called to HR because the men in the company thought tops and bottoms of suits had to be the same color and match. So, Michelle and her friend went to Express and purchased lime green and bright purple suits, with the tops and bottoms matching, to show the management how ridiculous their request was when it came to ladies fashion.

After working for the consulting firm for 7 years, Michelle decided that she wanted a job change. She wanted to see the man she married more than just on weekends and wondered what he looked like on a Tuesday.

Her next job was at UnitedHealth Group where she created a cross-functional career, moving departments and roles every 2-3 years. She did this intentionally because it’s her long-term professional goal to be in the C-Suite, so she’s focused on the skill preparation necessary for executive success.

She was laid off from UHG twice. After the second time, she decided to really switch it up and chose a role that she thought would be fun and where she would have the most impact.

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During our conversations for this article, she said something really compelling about being a leader. “Mary, what CEO do you know can roll up their sleeves and do the work their team does? I want to empower my team, enable the work and get out of their way.” This inspired me at the moment because I was going through a career shift. I am now a leader of a team, but my perspective was to become a leader of the work that you know how to do. After thinking about that conversation and the value that good leaders bring to their companies, I realized that she’s right.

Michelle will continue to have a huge impact on the tech industry and specifically women in tech. Whether she is in the C-Suite or not. The title would be great because it expands the sphere of influence and impact. Her reasons for wanting it aren’t self-centered, which is why I know she’ll get it. Ultimately, she wants a position where impact and messages are amplified to do good. Her plans include growing the local tech economy and helping young women overcome hurdles in their professional development.

If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
How old I’ll be when I die. I’m a planner and I want to work backwards from a deadline. It’s important for me to know because I want to accomplish a lot of things. Do I have 10 or 50 years to get it all done. How much time do I have to see the seven wonders of the world, to live a year in Europe, to try and finally learn a foreign language.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time?
No. I never want to be the person who misses out, so I squeeze 26 hours into every day. Even as a kid, I burned the candle at both ends. I make adventures a priority, so I never feel like I want more. I do have a dream of visiting all seven continents. I only have Antarctica left, and hope to do that before my 50th birthday.

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
Being the first person in my family to go to college. I didn’t have that modeled for me. The women before me didn’t have the same opportunities, most chose a career of marriage and motherhood.

My career path gave me the opportunity to travel the world, often alone. There is something empowering and confidence building about solo travel. Being able to navigate a foreign city, and work and play with locals is something I’m immensely proud of.

I’m also really proud of the “family” that I’ve created. I have a network of friends, loved ones and coaches. I love my house buzzing with people. I’ve had to overcome loneliness because I’m not from Minnesota, so I didn’t have a built-in network. I’m suited for it though because I’ve always been a person that brings different people together. Even as a kid I was like that.

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What do you value most in a friendship?
Transparency. Don’t hold back. Love big, be big. Call me out on my B.S. and vice versa. I also love surrounding myself with bold people with a great sense of adventure. Who aren’t afraid to try new foods, explore exotic places, sneak into parties, or zip line over things.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? My maternal grandmother. I was 2 years old when she passed away. You miss a lot about who your mother is if you don’t know her mother. People told me that I reminded them of my grandmother and I could never put the pieces together. My Grandmother didn’t travel much, but when she did, she loved cruising with my grandfather. She loved all the activities, mingling with other guests, and a bar full of manhattans. I love the same things! I would love to know what it was like to grow up in during the Depression and why she married my grandfather.

I would love to know what kind of trouble my mother got into, what events made her who she became, if she was as good as she said she was!

Would you like to be famous? In what way?
Yes. The impact I could have would be amplified. A lot of crap comes with fame, but I want to impact the success of women. More Bill Gates, than Kim Kardashian. I want to be a driving force to grow the local economy, grow tech careers in Minnesota and help young women overcome professional hurdles. Being famous would also allow me to travel without the hassle of commercial flights!

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
A true perfect day is when I’m exploring a new city with my husband, which is why I thought it would be fun to include photos of my vacation fashion. Vacation for us is like a long date, and I like to pack layers and accessories to have different looks when we’re traveling together.

If I’m not on vacation, it depends on the level of refueling that I need. I’m naturally an extrovert, so being around a lot of people gives me energy, but I can extrovert myself into a hole. That’s been happening more lately. When you have responsibilities for a team and strategic decisions, there’s more stress. I’m vascillating between playing offense and defense on a daily basis. The constant connection to the world via a phone adds to the over stimulation. A perfect day for that Michelle is most likely a Saturday. It starts with a morning workout, coffee with 1 friend, some kind of pampering like a pedicure, a long walk around the lake with the dogs and cooking a meal with my husband. There’s a couple of bottles of good wine involved too.

If I’m in a extroverted mood, that day starts with a big bawdy brunch with girlfriends, mimosas, talking, laughing and usually dancing at a bar with a jukebox while it’s still light outside.

Women have to maintain the perception of keeping it all together. Any kind of slip is interpreted differently for us than it is for men, so self care becomes really important.

When did you last sing to yourself?
In the car this morning. Bell Biv Devoe’s Poison (never trust a big butt and a smile).

Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
We both love to cook, we’re both blonde & blue-eyed, not unusual in Minnesota, but we stand out in a crowd in a lot of places we travel to. We’re both very competitive. I was the first person to ever beat my husband in Trivial Pursuit. I think that’s why he was attracted to me. I was both a formidable opponent and partner. Wade has been my biggest cheerleader in my career and has contributed the most to my success.

If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
I believe in the butterfly effect. Everything that has happened has created who I am. If I changed anything I might not be the tough-as-nails person that I am.

Superficially, if I could change anything it would be that I wish my family valued multiculturalism more. I also regret not speaking a foreign language. I’ve been to 45 foreign countries, and I make a point to learn some key words, but it frustrates me that I never mastered another language.

I’ve designed my life with intention.

It was 3:00 a.m. and Kristin’s brother’s friend was ringing her apartment to get access to her building. She was scared because she thought he was there to rob her. Then the phone rang, and it was her dad. “Andy shot himself.”

It was 3:00 a.m. and Kristin’s brother’s friend was ringing her apartment to get access to her building. She was scared because she thought he was there to rob her. Then the phone rang, and it was her dad. “Andy shot himself.”

Her first thought was: “Is he ok?”

He wasn’t ok. He was dead and Kristin was in total shock. She just saw Andy 2 nights ago when they celebrated New Year’s Eve together. What she did the next few hours, days, weeks and months isn’t very clear because she was in survival mode, constantly asking herself all of the “what if” questions.

Kristin sees herself as an entirely different person since her brother died of suicide. It has forever changed her in ways that she is still uncovering and navigating. She had already begun designing the life she wanted, but this event increased her commitment. She’s a woman that makes things happen. She’s active not passive. “I’m not going to wait for my life to start, so I make things happen.” Kristin has changed careers, moved to a different city and bought a horse.

“I always wanted a horse, so I bought I horse.”

Even though Kristin was a creative woman, when she was deciding where to go to college, she chose to go to business school. She wanted to be financially independent and was unsure about the financial stability of a creative career.

After graduating with a business degree from Marquette University, she worked at Baird as a Financial Analyst covering the retail sector. She spent her days working in Excel spreadsheets and writing reports. It was a repetitive job that worked on a quarterly cadence.

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Well into her career at Baird, that creative calling returned, and she realized that she’d rather be a designer. So she enrolled at a technical college to learn the skills she needed to bring her ideas to life. She worked full-time while she went to school. Once she finished the design program, she got a job at an agency, where she took a significant pay cut to start anew in her design career.

Her next big move was to Jockey where she started as a Senior Designer, became the Creative Director and led a team of 15 creatives. At Jockey, she did a variety of work like: Art direction, e-commerce, visual merchandise, direct mail and packaging just to name a few. Jockey was a cool experience because she got to be a hands-on Creative Director. She felt like the company was “fashion adjacent” and got to work on projects with Rachel Zoe and Tim Tebow.

While working full time at Jockey, she was also working at a beauty start-up called Wantable. It was a subscription based make-up company, where she led marketing and design. It was fun because she got to be scrappy and make decisions quickly, which allowed her to get a lot done.

After working at Jockey for 6 1/2 years, she was ready for a new challenge. She had just lost her brother and her father shortly thereafter. It was a year of extreme personal loss and she needed to find the space to heal.

Lucky for us, she found her way to Minneapolis through a business relationship with a recruiter who found her a spot on our team at Target.

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Kristin bought a condo in the North Loop in Minneapolis so she walks to work everyday and that influences her personal style. She wears mostly basics and dresses in layers. Her color palette is black and white and she likes to mix feminine details with edgier things, which is the perfect expression of her personality.

She wishes there were more opportunities to dress cool because she loves fashion. Sometimes, she’ll drive to work just so she can dress up for the day.

The style of her home is where she invests most of her time. Her space is very important to her because it’s her escape and where she goes to decompress. She just finished a bathroom remodel that took 3 months, so she’s looking forward to getting back to a construction-free zone.

If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
I don’t know if I want to know. I feel like that’s cheating. Things happen when and why they’re supposed to. If I see the future, then I’ll screw it up by trying to control things.

What do you value most in a friendship?
Honesty and being emotionally consistent. Show up the same.

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Tell me about an embarrassing moment in your life.
I was at this bachelorette party where I didn’t know most of the women. I got really drunk and ran to our party bus because it was so cold out. I tripped and fell, face-first and skidded down the sidewalk. All this happened in front of another bachelor party bus. I sprained my ankle, was bleeding and didn’t realize I was injured. The following weekend was the wedding and I had to go with a scabbed face. I’m sure everyone was looking at me thinking: “Oh, there’s that drunk girl…”

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
Maya Angelou. She was a bad-ass woman. She grew up in extreme poverty and abuse, overcame all of it to become incredibly powerful and inspirational.

Would you like to be famous? In what way?
No. I value my private life. I recharge by being alone. It would be so stressful to be constantly scrutinized. I judge myself enough. I don’t need help with that.

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say?
Yes, usually. My mouth moves faster than my brain and I want to make sure I make all of my points, especially if it’s a difficult conversation.

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What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
Not waking up to an alarm clock. I’m not a fan of breakfast so I’d like to go straight to the meal where I can eat pizza or lasagna. Spend the day outdoors in the sun. Have time to read. Eat sushi. Drink wine. Get a massage and go to sleep.

When did you last sing to yourself?
Oh, like all the time. I sing in the car, on the sidewalk, in the shower. When I sing to my boyfriend, I make up my own lyrics. They’re dirty, funny or all “meows”.

If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
The mind for sure.

Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
In some kind of stupid accident because I leap first. I’m klutzy, fall and am always in a hurry.

I promised my mom I would get my degree!

Julieta came to the U.S. with $100 in her pocket, spoke very little English, didn’t know anyone and had no immigration papers or social security number. She was born in San Diego, so she was an American citizen, but her family moved back to Mexico without ever finalizing her paperwork.

Julieta came to the U.S. with $100 in her pocket, spoke very little English, didn’t know anyone and had no immigration papers or social security number. She was born in San Diego, so she was an American citizen, but her family moved back to Mexico without ever finalizing her paperwork.

Julieta was in her 3rd year of Architecture school at the University of Sonora and realized that she was really bad at architecture. Her professor told her to switch her major to design because she was great at presenting ideas, color theory and drawing. She rejected that advice because the financial burden, of switching majors 3 years into her program, was too high.

Then one day, she fainted and hit her head on her fall, creating a hairline skull fracture that caused her brain to swell. Intuitively, she knew the fainting was a result of the stress at school, but a doctor was never able to diagnose the cause.

She recovered by staying in bed for one month, which meant that she fell too far behind in school and decided not to return once she was fully recovered.

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After hearing about some of her friends working summers in the U.S., she became interested in that idea so she could save money and help support her family. Her sister was 9 at the time, starting elementary school and needed supplies. It was important for Julieta to be able to help her family financially.

Julieta and a friend planned to move to Arizona for the summer. She searched Craigslist and found a bedroom to rent in Gilbert, Arizona. At the last minute, her friend backed out so Julieta made the journey solo.

When she arrived in Gilbert, her first priority was to get a job. However, nobody would hire her because she didn’t have proper identification. After experiencing several rejections, she finally found a small family-owned restaurant who gave her a job as a waitress.

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Once she had enough money saved, she bought a bike, so she could travel to the social security office and get her social security number. After living in her new place for a month, the landlord gave her notice that she had to move because he was selling the house and rent her room.

Luckily, the family who owned the restaurant and gave her that first job, offered her a room in their house, so she could stay and work in the U.S. for the entire summer.

She fondly remembers returning to Mexico after that summer, bringing a big haul of American things back to her family. She decided to go back to architecture school, but all she could think about is how much she could help her family if she lived in the U.S. for an entire year.

It took some negotiating with her mother. She had to promise that she would finish college, so back to Arizona she went.

When she returned, she got a different waitress job, a car and was able to get more settled. The first thing she bought, just for herself, was a purple AM/PM radio so she could listen to music.

Her college credits from Mexico didn’t transfer, so she had to start her academic career over. She enrolled in Community College to complete her generals and to learn more of the English language. She also discovered that Arizona had one of the best design schools in the country and recalled how her architecture professor advised her to pursue a design career.

“I just wanted a degree. I promised my mom!”

It’s inspiring how things ultimately worked out for Julieta. Her body literally told her that she should not pursue architecture, but her brain wouldn’t accept it. She had to lose all of the investment she made in her education and start over, but she landed exactly where she should.

After graduation, she got an internship at an ad agency where she worked on big accounts like Disney & Subway, which were great for her portfolio early in her career. After the agency gig, she accepted a Product Design position at American Airlines, where 70% of the web pages were her responsibility.

From American, she went to PayPal and during this point in her career, she started rethinking her purpose. She wanted to use her talents to give back to society so she started applying to non-profit organizations. She landed at Make-A-Wish Foundation as a Design Manager. This job was really fullfiling and she was really happy there.

Fast forward to now and Julieta is one of my newest colleagues. She’s new to Target and I’m new to the department we both work in. I like her style a lot. She brings an energy to the room that makes me sit up a little straighter and think a little deeper.

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Everything she wears has a floral pattern. She chooses fit over trend, and shops mainly second hand and vintage so she contributes less to the landfills. She also curates a beautiful Instagram account dedicated to Vegan eating.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest
My Grandma. I just miss her. We lived with her when we were going through rough times. She was a very charitable woman and had a huge influence on me.

Would you like to be famous?
Not really. I don’t really care about fame. If it’s a result of doing good, then yes, but not for the sake of fame.

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say?
No, and I should because I’m really bad on the phone. If I’m talking on the phone while my boyfriend is in the room, he’ll look at me like I forgot English. I was never really around phones. Chat and email is what I’m good at.

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
I would be at Kino Bay, waking up with my family, boyfriend and 2 dogs. We’d have an all vegan buffet, swim with the dolphins & turtles, snorkel and lay on the beach. Then we’d watch movies, cook together and go to bed early.

When did you last sing to yourself?
Last night. I sing to my dogs every night before I go to bed. “You are my sunshine…”

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When did you last cry in front of another person?
2 days ago, watching Harry Potter with my boyfriend. Harry goes to the Weasley’s house and Ron’s parents accept Harry as a child and are happy to see him. They count him as one of their own.

What do you value most in a friendship?
Being present when I’m with friends. Not always having to be the initiator. People making an effort.

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
Maybe the greatest hasn’t happened yet. I hope it hasn’t because I still want to make a larger impact. Learning English and being able to speak fluently in my profession is a great accomplishment.

Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
I’m deathly afraid of a house fire. I unplug everything from an outlet everyday before I leave the house. I’m always thinking: “How is this fire going to happen today?”

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My health and my family’s health. That’s all I need.

East Coast Style

Danielle’s style priority is comfort over trends. She focuses on wearing clothes made of materials that feel good on her body.

When Danielle and I met to talk about this article, she expressed to me that this was the first time she had ever told her story. I suspect that it’s because she is early in her career and still building all the pieces.

She is only 3 years out of college and that about knocked me out of my chair. I thought she had been working a lot longer than that! I’ve been noticing how much more sophisticated the younger generations of professional women are. It inspires me and helps me focus on why I do what I do for work everyday.

When Danielle was in high school, her parents encouraged her to try a sport or activity. She tried all of the things and found that she sucked at all of them. When she was 15, her best friend was diagnosed with brain cancer and Danielle needed an outlet to cope.

Art is most often the best outlet and Danielle discovered photography. She was lucky because her dad was an artist, a musician, and he supported her in the arts. Together, they took a photography class and Danielle ultimately studied it for 4 years.

She loved creating compositions and focused on abstract. When it was time to apply to college, she applied to 12 art schools and was accepted to all of them.

For her, it was between the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, or Savannah College of Art & Design. She chose SCAD and declared photography her major. After her first year, she lost the passion she had for photography and decided to take a Graphic Design class. She felt that photography was a piece of the experience, but wanted to explore other outlets. After one class, she was hooked, and switched majors. To this day, she says it’s the best thing she’s ever done.

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She interned at great companies like Fossil, HP and even Target. When the Target opportunity came up, she was intrigued because she likes the idea of living in a new city. She grew up in New York and Miami, lived in Savannah, studied abroad in France and Hong Kong.

Never one to get complacent, she decided to meet with Target for a phone interview. The night before the interview, she was held up at gun point. The man who robbed her stole her purse, which contained everything, and by everything, I mean all her backed up design files.

Listening to her tell this story, I couldn’t tell which was more devastating, actually being held up, or losing all of her work. Honestly, my first thought was: “You lost all your work?!@#”

She proceeded to have the phone interview with Target the next day and was hired for an internship as an art director on the weekly ad. Her current position is as a Senior Designer for Home on Target.com.

Her style priority is comfort and isn’t into trends. She focuses on the materials that clothes are made of and wants to feel good in her body. Lately, she’s been experimenting with statement pieces and color. Those statement making expressions typically come to life in her footwear.

When she moved to Minnesota, she admits to experiencing style culture shock. Her references to style were NYC, where there are so many different cultures, you’re inspired by the diversity on a daily basis. Living in Miami, the cultural style was all about showing off your body. It was while she was in Miami, that she realized her style was very simple and mostly east coast.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
My Uncle and my Grandma. My Uncle was killed in the Vietnam war when he was only 19 years old. My Grandma has been fighting stomach cancer, so I’d like to go back in time to when she was cancer free and he was alive.

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Would you like to be famous?
Only if it is in the design field. I want to be known for something that helps people through design.

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say?
Yes, because I think with my mouth instead of my heart sometimes.

When did you last sing to yourself?
On King’s Day in Amsterdam.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time?
I’d like to travel to Cuba. I’m Cuban, Puerto Rican, Portuguese and British. My Grandma, on my Dad’s side, is Cuban and is very proud of her heritage. She likes to say that she’s “150% Cuban!” She left Cuba when she was 13 years old and returned 73 years later. That trip meant a lot to her and I just want to experience the country.

What do you value most in a friendship?
Loyalty, honesty and trust. It’s also important to me to know that I can go months without talking to my friends and trust that nothing about our relationship has changed when we do decide to catch up.

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What is your most terrible memory?
Getting held up at gunpoint. It was a moment that really changed things for me. Things changed for the good, though, because of the choices I made. The most terrible part of the memory is not the actual incident, it’s that it occurred 2 days before my brother’s wedding in Puerto Rico. I lost all of my identification, so I didn’t know how I was going to get there. It all worked out and I made it to the wedding, but once I  was there everything hit me.

Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
Cancer. My mom had cancer, and my Grandma has had cancer twice.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
The ability to read minds. Like, when somebody is trying to say something, but not really saying it. I want to be able to turn it off and on though.

Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share…”
my life with.